Rotherham United were fired to play-off promotion after scientists told players to cut out eggs and milk

THE secret of Rotherham United's promotion last season was eggs and milk – or rather the lack of them.

The Millers reached the Championship after promotion via the play-offs finishing the campaign looking fitter, quicker and stronger than their rivals.

 Rotherham United have been working with Lorisian Laboratories to find an edge over the competition

8
Rotherham United have been working with Lorisian Laboratories to find an edge over the competition

And their late burst is all thanks to science.

Since February, Rotherham have been working with Lorisian Laboratories, a food intolerance company that monitors the players' diets.

All their stars are constantly tested for foods that may not agree with their bodies and could affect their overall performance on the pitch.

SunSport paid a visit to the Roundwood Sports Complex, the club's training ground, to discover more.

 Rotherham United won promotion to the Championship thanks to a lab monitoring players' diets

Reuters
8
Rotherham United won promotion to the Championship thanks to a lab monitoring players' diets

Ross Burbeary, Head of Player Performance, told us exclusively how the science has improved players' performance levels.

He said: "Within the sports science and medical industry, although ever evolving, we understand what foods and what amounts can have performance enhancing properties in a variety of modalities such as increases in strength, energy and recovery.

"However, footballers as people are not a homogeneous group and we have to approach each player as an individual.

"Lorisian have allowed us to specifically analyse each player to ascertain their food intolerance profile and make the necessary changes.

 A large number of players were found to have intolerance to eggs and milk and have cut it out of their diet

8
A large number of players were found to have intolerance to eggs and milk and have cut it out of their diet

"A large number of players have shown intolerance to eggs and milk, two foods, which would have been a staple part of a players diet historically, to enhance protein synthesis before and after hard training and/or conditioning sessions.

"Whey protein shakes are used frequently, but now we must look at other protein options for the players that have a milk intolerance and replace the foods which players are intolerant to with substitutes that will not cause inflammatory symptoms.

"Prior to the involvement of Lorisian, we were paradoxically prescribing foods that caused some players irritation and potentially hindering their performance as opposed to improving it, which was our intention."

Burbeary, 36, added that the team has been open to the change in their diets and it has had a positive impact on squad morale and fitness.

 Rotherham players in the club canteen at lunchtime

8
Rotherham players in the club canteen at lunchtime

"Players have welcomed these changes as they have seen the benefits from eliminating the foods they are intolerant to with reductions in bloatedness, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, constipation etc – all symptoms that players felt were due to anxiety on match day.

"With individual cases being more specific, overall we have seen increased energy levels in our squad and a positive change in players behaviour towards their food choices due to the education we have provided to them."

Rotherham's Aussie striker Ryan Williams, 24, took a food test in August, 2017 off his own back, before the club started conducting their own.

After the test discovered he had an intolerance to cows' milk, he cut it out of his diet.

He said: “I definitely lost a few kilos and one of my main intolerances was milk so I cut that back.

"I feel less bloated all the time, generally healthier, lighter and have more of a spring in my step.

 Players now take alternatives such as soya milk or whey protein

8
Players now take alternatives such as soya milk or whey protein

"I feel more confident going into the games, like I could get around the pitch a little better and feel generally healthier. It definitely made an impact.

"But I’ll still have an ice cream now and then, that’s about it! Otherwise, I stick to soya milk.”

26-year-old defender Michael Smith also suffered an intolerance to milk, as well as eggs, which would give him terrible heartburn.

He removed those food items from his diet and noticed a considerable change.

Smith told SunSport: “I was intolerant to milk and eggs, and you don’t realise how much stuff that is in.

"I instantly felt a lot more energetic. I suffered from really bad heartburn.

"As soon as I started avoiding dairy, I didn’t need to take Rennies and Gaviscon as much and felt a lot more energised."

 Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director at Lorisian Laboratories

8
Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director at Lorisian Laboratories

Striker David Ball, 28, admitted he had his doubts about the nutritional benefits of food testing, but he confessed it helped him combat the feeling of sluggishness.

He revealed: “I was sceptical at first, but then we had meetings and it made me realise I got bloated and needed a change.

"After cutting out all dairy products I felt more energised, less bloated and I'm less tired setting off early in the mornings. I used to feel sluggish and haven’t felt like that since.”

While eczema sufferer Joe Mattock saw his condition improve by changing diet.

He said: "I found the the food intolerance testing very useful and helpful, as it had an instant effect cutting out the likes of milk, nuts and eggs out of my diet.

"Eczema, bloating and my spots all eased after realising what foods I had an intolerance to."

 Ryan Williams cut cows milk out of his diet and now feels he can 'get around the pitch better'

8
Ryan Williams cut cows milk out of his diet and now feels he can 'get around the pitch better'

Dr Gill Hart, a biochemist and Scientific Director at Lorisian Laboratories, explained why a catered diet is beneficial to today's prime athletes.

She said: “Diet plays a key role in a footballers' preparation, competition and recovery strategies.

"Given the impact of exercise on the way nutrients, vitamins and food proteins are absorbed and digested in the body, it is not surprising that sports professionals are susceptible to food sensitivities because of the stress of constant training.
“A stressed or over-trained body will be less and less able to tolerate foods that are contributing to inflammation and this will further impact performance.

 Michael Smith would get bad heartburn from eggs and milk but now feels 'a lot more energised' after cutting them

PA:Press Association
8
Michael Smith would get bad heartburn from eggs and milk but now feels 'a lot more energised' after cutting them

"Optimising players’ and athletes’ diet should be part of any sports programme.

"To ensure each player gets the best performance out of their diet, a personalised approach should be considered, taking food intolerances into account."
She added: "Dietary changes based on measuring food intolerances can be used to help people to eliminate foods from their diet that are contributing to inflammation; linked to IBS, weight gain, skin conditions, energy levels and joint paints and migraines.

"These are all important factors for those who need to be at the peak of their performance."

For more information, visit Lorisian's website for details.

THE secret of Rotherham United's promotion last season was eggs and milk – or rather the lack of them.